Skip to main content
Menu menu

(WAUSAU, Wis.) – Northcentral Technical College (NTC) will play host to central Wisconsin’s largest gardening conference, Garden Visions Conference, on January 25 – 26, 2019 at NTC’s Wausau campus. The conference is geared toward northern climate gardeners and is presented by the North Central Wisconsin Master Gardener Association (NCWMG) & UW – Extension.

Registration is required for this event. Pre-registrations must be postmarked or submitted on-line by Friday, January 18, 2019. Walk-in registration for Friday and Saturday will be accepted at the event, however session choices may be limited and lunch is not available for walk-ins.


Friday, January 25, 2019: Slow Food Dinner with Guest Speaker, Wisconsin Author, Michael Perry

NTC’s Culinary Arts Instructor, Chef Travis Teska, will present the 5th Annual Slow Food Dinner, along with a short talk by Chef Travis Michael Perry, a New York Times best-selling author, humorist, playwright and radio host from New Auburn, Wis. is the keynote speaker after dinner. Enjoy Michael as he talks about his experiences as a failed gardener, and as he provides a humorous heartfelt look into his relationship with food of all sorts, from gas station jerky to organic asparagus truffle foam!

A meet-and-greet and book signing by Michael Perry will run from 5:00 p.m.- 5:45 p.m., with dinner to follow at 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 26, 2019: Full Day Conference

Listen to national and regional speakers, view educational exhibits, take a chance on great raffle prizes, meet and greet our speakers, authors, shop with our wonderful vendor, and enjoy a great lunch! The conference is open to the public and you do not have to be a Master Gardener to attend; we welcome anyone with an interest and curiosity for gardening!

Keynote speaker, Joel Karsten, will address the topic: Building An Outdoor Room. Joel is the creator of and author of the book “Straw Bale Gardens” and will speak about Straw Bale Gardens during one of the featured breakout sessions.

A bonus presentation by Bernie Williams of the Wisconsin DNR will be presented on Jumping Worms and learning how to deal with this somewhat new invasive species. Bernie has been with the Wisconsin DNR for 10 years as a Plant Pest & Disease Specialist in Forest Health. 


Straw Bale Solutions (breakout session) by Keynote: Joel Karsten of Mpls, Minn. Joel is a gardening writer, speaker and consultant.

Creating a Bird Friendly Garden by Brett Barker, UW-Stevens Point at Wausau.

1) Planting Designs with Perennials & 2) Building a Bulb Garden by Benjamin Futa, Director of Allen Centennial Garden at UW-Madison.

Wild Harvest: Useful and Edible Plants by David Eagan, former Honorary Fellow, Dept of Botany, UW-Madison, freelance writer and consultant.

The Scoop on Nativars, Cultivars of Native Plants by Mariette Nowak, author of “Birdscaping of the Midwest”, and past director of the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County.

1) Small-Scale Native Deciduous Trees and Shrubs for Gardens &  2) Container & Raised Bed Gardening  by Lisa Johnson, Dane County UW-Extension Horticulture Educator.

1) The Basics of Vegetable Growing  & 2) Growing Grapes in Wisconsin by Dr. Brian Smith, Director of UW-River Falls Fruit Research, Teaching & Extension Facility

Dream Theme Gardens …Designed by You by Laura Syring, owner of Earthborn Care of Wausau, Wis. This is a 2-session class with the opportunity to create your own garden design with Laura’s assistance.

Floral Workshop: by Fawn Mueller, owner and floral artist behind “Inspired by Nature, based in Wausau. This is a 2-session class with the opportunity to create your own floral arrangement.

Exploring Flower Photography: From Garden To Still Life by Brad Schmicker, photography enthusiast.

Climate Change and Its Impacts on Gardening in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 by Dr. Paul Whitaker, Professor of Biological Sciences at UW-Marathon County.

For further descriptions of sessions and speaker bio’s, visit


About Northcentral Technical College

Northcentral Technical College ( is north central Wisconsin's premier two-year college of choice and is a resource for all District residents. It provides individuals, organizations and businesses with quality skills training in a wide range of programs designed to build a competitive, technologically advanced workforce in today's rapidly changing global environment. NTC has seven convenient locations and three Centers of Excellence in Antigo, Medford, Merrill, Phillips, Spencer, Wausau and Wittenberg.


About North Central WI Master Gardeners

North Central Wisconsin Master Gardener Association (NCWMG) has been Growing, Learning, Teaching and Sharing gardening and agriculture for nearly 25 years.  The association includes Lincoln and Marathon counties and maintains an active membership of more than 80 volunteers.


NCWMG volunteers have established and served in many service projects including: staffing the Garden Line, Garden Clinic and booth at Weston Farmer’s Market, hosting the Garden Visions conference, hosting Gardenville, annual spring plant sale, hosting Garden Walk, establishing a Native Wisconsin Wildflower Garden at Rib Mountain State Park, and maintaining a teaching garden. In the last 20 years NCWMG volunteers have served in many notable community service projects including:


•                 Rib Mountain Native WI Wildflower Gardens

•                 Yawkey House Museum Garden, Wausau

•                 Aspirus YMCA Community Garden, 3402 Howland Ave, Weston

•                 Garden of Giving, Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Marshfield

•                 Monk Botanical Gardens, Wausau, including currently creating new Shade Garden area

•                 Rothschild Village Hall Gardens, Rothschild

•                 Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum Gardens, Wausau


The University of WI-Extension has been helping people solve their agricultural problems since 1913. Extension agents/farm advisors supervised “Victory Gardens” during World War I and II and have helped home and community gardeners ever since. Eventually, a voluntary educational program was initiated to teach gardening to people who would then extend the information to others in the community. The first Master Gardener Volunteer Program was started in 1972 in Washington State. Since then, Master Gardener Volunteer Programs have spread to more than 45 states and four Canadian provinces, and boasts of more than 45,000 volunteers.


Contact Information:

Garden Visions Website & Registration Information:

NCWMG website:


NCWMG Resource & Interview Contacts:

Carol Bray, Garden Visions Chair,, 715- 693-6446

Brianna Wright,,  715-261-1241

Jane Olson,, 715-570-2769, PR Chair